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Norbert Elias's theory: an analysis of being teacher

According to the understanding that theoretical models structure the comprehension of research phenomena, the present article seeks to explore concepts from Norbert Elias's sociological theory, considering that the latter is an excellent analytical source to come to grips with the universe of being teacher, despite the fact that Elias himself did not deal directly with issues related to the field of education. Based on the concept of configuration, it is possible to say that the constitution of being teacher results from the different configurations in which a teacher is immersed since, according to Elias, people (teachers, parents, administrators, ministers, pupils etc.) model their ideas on the basis of all their experiences and, essentially, from the experiences within their own group. It can be observed that configurations, formed by interdependent groups of people, and not by singular individuals, are ever more amplified in school contexts, with specialized and specific functions (teachers, pupils, principals, coordinators, supervisors, secretaries etc.), in groups that become more and more functionally dependent. The interdependence chains are more differentiated and, consequently, more opaque and difficult to be controlled by any groups or individuals. Therefore, a better understanding will be possible when we study empirically the configurations at play in Brazilian education. Hence the justification to analyze the configurations and the webs of interdependence in which teachers are involved. Lastly, the application of the competition models described by Elias makes it possible to unveil the sociological problems of being teacher, making them more evident and helping to understand their interplay, in order to reorganize it in terms of equilibrium within the social web.

Norbert Elias; Configuration; Education; Teacher

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